Thursday, May 2, 2013

Captain Disaster: Book One The Influxitron by Del Shannon Review (formerly Kevin's Point of View)

Captain Disaster Book One: The Influxitron by Del Shannon
Publisher: Flatiron View Publishers
To Buy Links-

Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father's death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character's head become critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father's death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin's teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin's whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon's imaginative story, appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it, and fast-paced, adventure-filled storytelling style make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages.
This is actually a reprint of my original review of Kevin's Point of View. The novel has undergone some changes including a new title, cover, some illustrations inside and the first chapter of Book 2. It's still receiving rave reviews and being carried slowly but steadily in Barnes and Noble stores and independent stores starting out west in Colorado and heading east. Here is my original review.

"Hi! I'm Kevin Tobin and well, this is my book. See, the lady that runs this review page- she's been really busy lately with some personal stuff, you know, grown up things, so she asked me to tell you about my book, my Captain Disaster. Sooo, here I am! This book is about a time in my life- a very eventful time in my life- when everything was going wrong- including me. But I learned that sometimes, wrong is the only way to make it right-ya know what I mean?

Anyway, one way my life was wrong was that my dad was killed in a bicycle accident-the only thing left was a mangled tangle of metal that didn't even look like a bike. And the way I dealt was to retreat into my imagination. I pretended to be someone else like Captain Disaster fighting the evil Floogs. One day I was in my F117A Stealth Fighter at the time about to knock out a missile site when I was called back to Red Team Base by the Pentagon (my mother) for a package pick up. Turned out to be mine. I raced to my room opened it up and found this weird remote control and started playing around with it, me being a curious boy of 12 and then Holy Fruitloops (I didn't say that) it blew a hole...."

Uh thanks Kevin! Thank you so much for starting without me. I appreciate what you've done, but I'll take it from here. We don't want to give the story away. We want people to want to get the novel and read if for themselves. "But I was only going to tell them about the Influxitron and Scratch and Tony and ..." Really, Goodbye Kevin! Back in the book or I'm calling Del. He may not give you a part in the sequel. "Okay, bye."

So, to take over my review again, though Kevin was doing a good job and you can see he has a very active imagination and he uses it to get him out of many sticky situations. The package he got by mistake was supposed to be sent to the villain in this novel, Devin. The rest of the novel is full of Kevin's clever use of his imagination in escaping Devin and his armed men. Kevin is flanked by his best friend, Tony and later on by his sister, Betsy and the pizza delivery guy/boyfriend, Scratch and a surprising helping hand. Devin again, is flanked by armed professionals and a helicopter. But Kevin's imagination, friends, loving family and the Rocky Mountains prove to be a challenge for Devin.

This novel is fast paced with plenty of action, but enough dialogue to allow you to get to know the characters. Each of them fulfill a role in the world of Kevin including the evil Devin. Here is Del Shannon's explanation of each character's place in the novel "Kevin finds courage in the depths of his despair over the loss of his father. Tony is almost like the voice of Kevin's fear, constantly seeing the real dangers around him, even in the middle of Kevin's fantasies. Kevin's mother is a minor character now who will grow in other books (if they're written), but she represents unfailing, familial love. Kevin's father, also rarely seen now but who will become more important as the story progresses, is a magnetic north that their family steers by - even in death. Scratch represents the release of anxiety and carefree fun that we all are seeking in our lives. Betsy is both a sibling and a peer who may complain bitterly, but never leaves your side. She's a counterweight to the huge mass that is sometimes Kevin. Right now Devin is just the face of something sinister and evil, but we all know that there is something deeper and hidden from our sight and we should keep a cautious eye in it's direction. This evil will obviously grow and become something we don't expect. It's just wrapped around a - I hope - fun and entertaining story."

I truly loved this novel! But I couldn't just say that and you would believe me. So here are some things I find unique to this novel. It's written and appeals to MG boys. It has helicopters and guns and dangerous situations and a really cool gadget that boys love and some girls love, too. It hooks you right from the start. Two pages in and you're moving along. Kevin never breaks. Remember being a kid and thinking nothing would ever happen to you? You'd live forever? Well something has happened already to Kevin, his dad was killed. But he goes on using the skills he has to cope with it. At first glance you think he's ADHD, but you get a good look into his reasoning for his escape into his imagination. The author has one line that my son actually was reading to me and opened up a conversation between us that was so deep and sensitive, for both of us. For those of you who still read with your kids, you'll find that one sentence and when you do, I hope it helps you open up. Kevin always looks out for his family and friends. Kevin and his friends could be your own kids, there isn't anything extraordinary about him, and yet there is. He puts on a brave face about his dad's death. But they had plans. Plans he'll never get to do now and at twelve, he has to swallow a lot of dreams he'll never get to have. Devin is a scary man making no idle threats. He plans to kill Kevin and tells him, but Kevin never gives up. He's always looking for a way out. I cheered for him and his compatriots the whole way through and at the end I was astounded. Some things were revealed that I couldn't believe. 

The novel is written  mainly from Kevin's perspective. Though the novel is almost four hundred pages long,(a little longer than this review) it does not read like that at all. Each chapter has a title page and a blank page before it. It is a self published novel, beautifully bound and not one spelling error or grammatical error that I could find. These usually glare out at me so if there were any they weren't obvious. There is no objectionable language, behavior or content. This novel is appropriate for anyone that can read and understand the content. I think boys who have a hard time finding reading material that they like will especially like this one. As I mentioned before, it's action packed, fast paced and easy to read. You can read as much or as little as you want into it. So far, it's my favorite book this year. And I named Kevin as one of my favorite male characters. He's not a kid you'd coddle, more like you'd want to hang out with.

About the Author-
Del Shannon
Del Shannon is from Boulder Colorado and one of the most interesting civil engineers you'll ever meet. I have had a two year email and Facebook friendship with him in which I've seen Dam projects from all over the world from Africa where the tribal chief's wife took a liking to him (he's not going back there) to Alaska and many places in between. I've seen incredible photos of claustrophobic spots Del swears he doesn't go into to huge ravines that don't look like there is enough water to build a dam for. You have to have imagination to see something like that from nothing, that must be why Del is such an imaginative writer. The facelift his novel got has given it more commercial appeal, but it's the same incredible story inside.


  1. Love how Kevin took over the review, and I like the sound of the action and book in general.

    1. It's a great G-rated book with boyish pranks and lots of action! My son loved it!

  2. That was definitely a fun review. I already like Kevin's voice he has a lot of spunk and he sounds very precocious. I am so glad there are books out there like this written for young boys. I am going to pin this to my pinterest kids board so I will remember it for my son. Thanks for sharing. Had fun with this post even if I didn't get any hookers or making money schemes from the comments!

    1. Nope no hookers or money making schemes.

      This is a great book! As a girl I really love this novel. It's got the best villains but even better heroes. And the greatest part is that Del used real places around Boulder as his locations. There's a pizza delivery van called the Shroom Wagon and there is actually one there near him. Very funny!

  3. Replies
    1. You'd love it if you read Middle Grade. I don't think we've discussed that. It's a great book! Great friendly author, too!

  4. Oh I love a book set in CO!! :D

    I also love that it sparked a convo with your son. What a great book that does that! Also, the vid seems to really have those kids engaged and enjoying the book. I so need to keep this one in mind and recommend it to my younger cousins. One is the perfect age for this book.

    1. I forgot to put links in, but Del has been to several schools all over giving talks and readings. Bookstores call and ask if they can stock his books. He loves visiting with the kids and doing the readings at bookstores. He just wants to share his book with anyone that want it! I honestly think he'd give them away to anyone that said they wanted to read it!

      It just became available a week or so on Amazon and I got my copy. It's still great! And my son stole my copy AGAIN! I definitely recommend it for MG readers especially boys, but as a girl I loved it too!

  5. Sounds like one I should grab for my daughter's classroom as well as my nephew. I'm glad you found a self published gem!

  6. Thanks for posting this.This is awesome!!


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